“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
For me, HBS
almost ended before it even started.
When I left the
military the summer before moving to Boston I felt lost, disconnected, and
hopeless. Later I would discover that I
suffered from depression and service-related post-traumatic stress disorder,
but I didn’t know it back then. All I
knew was that Harvard Business School was the last thing on my mind, a place
that seemed surreal and out of reach. The
only reason I even made it to move-in weekend was because of my loving and
supportive parents. I remember my father
telling me that weekend, as we stared at raindrops sliding down a coffee shop
window: “We really want to come back in
two years to see you graduate, you know."
dynamic. So is my changed perspective.
later I'm at a noisy gathering – busy, bustling, lights. "You don't talk much," I'm told. Funny
how he has no idea what’s going on with me. Amidst a crowd of friends and strangers, smiles
and stares, I now remind myself – everyday – that pain and struggle can be
found in places where they are least expected.
We won’t ever know unless we become still enough to notice, and courageous
enough to ask.
I will be
humble and I will be still. I will do my
best to notice those hidden calls for help, no matter how big or small, and I
will ask. I will open my arms and I will
listen, because there were people who did the same for me: like a man
coincidentally named Phoenix, from the ashes, who smiled at me one sunny day
and reassured me it was going to be ok. I
will tell those who feel troubled this:
"It will get
"I believe adaptation
begins with neither strength nor courage, but a willingness to completely surrender
to what is. I adapted by learning to
accept and learning to let go. I started
by giving to others what I felt I was lacking... and I was surprised at how
quickly my empty suddenly became full.
"Most of all,
I overcame it. You can too."
I will tell
them I am ready. I will tell them I am
stronger. And I will tell them how much
I smiled at my parents when I walked across the stage to receive my HBS degree.
— Marla Metz
Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver.
We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Concept and photography:
Tony Deifell, MBA '02
More Portrait Project
Harvard Business SchoolDillon HouseSoldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163